Dr. Franklin Ruehl originally did this show in the 1980's as a public access thing, but somehow he got picked up by the Science Fiction Channel (nowadays called 'syfy') in 1992. Dr. Ruehl does in fact really have a PHD in nuclear physics, but his screen persona is more like a spoof of a 1950's B-movie scientist. Ruehl is also a UFOlogist, and this program was like an ultra-low budget, mildly tongue-in-cheek rip-off of the 1970's 'In Search Of' pseudo-documentary show. Every episode featured quirky unsolved mysteries such as UFO's and related phenomena or oddities, with Dr. Ruehl sitting at a cheap desk in a cheap studio set, maybe playing some video of the subject, and occasionally with a nerdy-looking reporter in the field.
Every so-called mystery was a genuine mystery, whatever that means, but the whole atmosphere of the show was like a spoof, with Dr. Ruehl at the center, with his strange appearance, mannerisms, and catch-phrases, such as whenever he pulled a piece of information out of an envelope, he would say 'let me extricate it from it's paper prison.' The first time a person watched the show, he might think it was unintentionally corny and goofy, but after you watched a few episodes, you were in on the joke.
Dr. Ruehl would pad the show with trivia, one time explaining that President William Henry Harrison, who refused to wear a coat and hat to his inauguration and then immediately took ill and died, died because he was a 'macho man.' The Scifi Channel used to run this show on Sunday nights, right before the classic Patrick MacGoohan series 'The Prisoner,' and so I caught a lot of these episodes.
Once you got wise to the fact that Dr. Ruehl was kind of spoofing himself, it was a mildly fun show, if you think unsolved mysteries are interesting and enjoy a little goofiness. Besides being a genuine nuclear scientist, Dr. Ruehl has been a fan of old scifi movies since his childhood in the 1950's, with his favorite movie being 'Rocketship X-M.' Via the interwebs, Dr. Ruehl is doing some kind of show now.
'In Search Of' was a predecessor to this show, made in the 1970's, featuring thespian Leonard Nimoy, a famous pretend scientist from his iconic TV show in the 1960's. 'In Search Of' was played extremely straight and often melodramitic, with the effect being that afterwords you felt you had been manipulated.
This show featured a real scientist, but presenting in a playful and often humorous manner, with the effect being that with this show you didn't feel manipulated.
This show doesn't rank with say, Perry Mason or Gunsmoke as far as quality TV goes, but it was a hell of a lot better than all the so-called 'reality TV' crap we have now like Honey Boo-boo and Duck Dynasty.
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